Remember me - echoes from the lost generations
Follow-up activities
 
 

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War Memorials

Maidenhead War memorial



After the First World War, thousands of war memorials were raised in honour of local men and women who lost their lives serving their country, and who may have been buried or commemorated overseas. New names were added after the Second World War.

These memorials were not initiated by the CWGC. They were often paid for and maintained by communities themselves and acted as a local focus for remembrance.

Glenwood High School's Roll of HonourIn addition, many schools compiled a Roll of Honour to remember all their ex-pupils who died.

Glenwood High School's Roll of Honour is shown here.

 

Your Turn!

Using this information and supported by the resources of the CWGC you can:

  • Assess your community’s contribution to the war
  • Set this in a wider context
  • Consider the implications of loss for the community

The CWGC can provide:

  • The casualty records of individuals named on the memorial or Roll of Honour
    (See the help section of Debt of Honour Register description of how to go about this)

  • A home-town report from our database, on request. For many locations it is possible for us to provide a list of all the casualties from the area.

    BUT

    • Some places are just too big for this to be a viable exercise (large towns and cities where casualties run into the thousands)

    • Some places are too small (although we could generate a report there would be too few names for you to work with)

    • The list will not be exhaustive since it relies on information from the next of kin at the time of death – they may not have provided us with the address, in which case his or her name would not come up on a town-based search

It IS worth asking though, because we may be able to suggest something instead.

Other sources:

  • Local press archives, for obituaries and photographs of individuals

  • Local regiments – these might still exist, or at least have websites or museums to visit.

  • Libraries and local history societies

Activities:

  • The data you acquire can be analysed and presented, as demonstrated in the case studies in this unit.

  • Design and create a Roll of Honour for your locality

  • Design a commemorative website reflecting the impact of war on your community

  • Plan your own remembrance ceremony. Think carefully about it so that it is both appealing to young people and respectful of traditions.

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War graves in the United Kingdom

Weston Underwood, St Laurence, churchyard

Few people realise that there are more than 170,000 war graves in the United Kingdom, in almost 12,500 cemeteries and churchyards.

Why are they there?

One of the founding principles of the CWGC was that those who died on active service abroad would be buried with their comrades. However, the families of servicemen and women who died at home were allowed to decide where they should be buried and this was often in their local cemetery or churchyard.

They may have died:

  • From their wounds, having been sent home to be treated

  • In military training accidents

  • From sickness or disease

In addition:

  • Many Battle of Britain airmen lie buried in S. E. England

  • The graves of Merchant and Royal Navy seamen, whose bodies were washed ashore when their ships were sunk in home waters will be found in numerous coastal towns and villages

  • Servicemen and women from other Commonwealth countries died in the United Kingdom and there they were buried

How can we recognise them?

Some war graves are easy to spot, having the traditional Commission pattern headstone.

Some are commemorated with private memorials so are indistinguishable from other graves unless the inscription is read.

Sometimes there are memorials in home cemeteries and churchyards for men and women who are buried or commemorated abroad. At the time, foreign travel was beyond the means of many so they chose to create an additional memorial at home.

What can they tell you about the history of your local area?

In your area, there may have been:

  • A military hospital
  • A convalescent home
  • A regimental depot
  • An RAF Station
  • A military training camp

which would account for war graves in your local cemeteries and churchyards.

Activities:

  • Visit your local cemetery or churchyard and produce a report on the war graves present there (if any)

  • Use the resources of the CWGC to find out more about the individuals commemorated there

Back to War graves in the United Kingdom

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